The Shan State Army (SSA), both northern and southern factions, say the Burma Army is still going ahead with its “area clearing” operations, despite ceasefire agreements having signed, thereby leading to fresh clashes with them.
According to the SSA South, that had concluded the agreement on 2 December 2011, two more clashes (the 21st and 22nd in the series) have taken place:
Maj Zarm Kherh’s special force was attacked by the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Battalion # 115 near Wanzing-Namlan, Hsipaw township
An SSA’s 6-men squad, assigned to collect food items in the forest, ran into a Burma Army patrol coming out from Mongkeung township’s Tong Lao, where the Infantry Battalion 131 is based
The squad picked one backpack abandoned by the patrol afterwards. “It happened because the Burma Army did not notify us of its movements in advance,” said an SSA officer.
SSA liaison officers, by agreement, have been assigned in 5 cities and towns since January: Taunggyi, Kholam, Tachilek, Kengtung and Monghsat.
For the SSA North, the 19th clash with the Burma Army has been raging since 05:00 (local time) this morning at Hwe Lawn, between Tawng Hio and Mong Awd, in Monghsu township. Its 400-strong 36th Brigade has been resisting against the combined force of elements from 4 battalions: Infantry Battalions (IB) 149 and 150; and Light Infantry Battalions 516 and 517.
The SSA spokesman Maj Sai La, quoting Col Aung Thu, Shan State Government’s Security and Border Affairs Minister, says 5 Burmese soldiers have already been killed.
The latest fight picked up from where it left off on 17 June on the same location.
Col Aung Thu reportedly said the clash was the result of the SSA standing in the way of an area clearing operation launched by the Army. The SSA was “requested” to move out. The latter refused to, saying the area had been its stomping ground long before the Burma Army came.
Asked whether the ceasefire agreement, signed on 28 January, would be in danger of collapsing, Sai La said, “It is not up to us, but up to the Burma Army. If it continues to resort to force, we have no choice, but to return the favor.”
Apart from the two SSAs, the Burma Army is also fighting against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The year long conflict between the KIA and the Burma Army has displaced more than 75,000 people. Critics have demanded that Naypyitaw’s ceasefire program extends to the KIA and not just the 12 movements it had concluded agreements with.
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